Want to be more productive? Take a break!


Running a business is hard work. Heck just working a job is hard work. It takes a lot of effort to do it well. Let’s face it, some days you are easily distracted and you just don’t want to be there. Days like that you would be doing everyone (including yourself!) a favor by just taking a break.

The thing is it’s true. When you don’t want to be there you tend to be unproductive. Now you can’t use this as an excuse to not work but sometimes it’s best to take a break. I code a lot at night and find myself trying to solve issues and sometimes I just hit a wall. Usually it’s because I’m tired and I know it. Even though I want to try and push through, I know that if I go to bed, more than likely the good nights rest will give me some clarity when I look at the problem in the morning.

I can’t tell you how many times that has happened. But I don’t have to wait until the end of the day for that to happen. Sometimes I’ll be struggling on how to handle a problem and I’ll go take a walk, get a bite to eat, go visit with someone, anything to get my mind off the problem. When I return, I get a fresh view of the issue. Don’t force it. There is a saying in kung fu that says to “let the technique in”. There is also one that says “don’t force the technique”. Both of these are based off the idea to not fight it or struggle with it. Learn to let it happen. Now you don’t have to totally forget it when you take a break. I like to think of it as putting it on the backburner. I have had eureka moments at the oddest times. The answer comes to you when it comes to you.

Years ago I dealt table games at a casino. We used to take a 20 minute break every hour. At first that seemed generous and I quickly found out why that happens. The powers that be in the casino industry discovered that people tend to “break down” and make more mistakes after working an hour on the games. It was worth it for them to give you the break so they would have a consistent, quick, productive game with very little mistakes on it. More breaks equals more money in that scenario. Sometimes its true in our own workflow. Don’t be afraid to see it and try it. Don’t buy in to the myth that you can’t take breaks or you will be seen as unproductive.

How have you used breaks to your advantage for problem solving?

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Hey, I'm Jeff Freeman

A WordPress web developer from Peoria, IL who likes to travel, and enjoys coffee, craft beers, kung fu, biking and working on interesting projects.

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